Georgia Tech Student Bikes Across America

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There’s no denying that college can be a challenge — a test of what you have learned, your time management skills, and your fortitude. But second-year Georgia Tech mechanical engineering student Mjay Choi was still feeling like he wanted to see how far he could push himself.

What could be the ultimate test? What about biking across the United States? 

“Always challenge yourself,” Choi said. “That is the only way to make yourself stronger.”

He found an opportunity to raise money and awareness for young adult cancer patients with the nonprofit Ulman Foundation. Choi jumped at the opportunity to support the cause, having lost both his grandparents to different forms of the disease.

But Choi was not a competitive cyclist. Other than leisurely rides with his family, he’d never attempted anything like a 4,000-mile bike trek. The team at Ulman provided him with some guidelines to prepare, and he started training at the Campus Recreation Center with more frequent cardio. As he finished his first year at Tech, Choi was preparing to pedal from Baltimore, Maryland, all the way to San Francisco, California. Choi and a team of other cyclists averaged 80 miles of biking every day. He and his fellow riders often relied on the kindness of strangers to make the journey.

“In some locations, we had meals and places to stay planned ahead,” Choi explained. Sometimes, the team would camp under the stars. But in other places, community members would find out about the fundraising effort and would offer to make a hot meal or provide lodging for the cyclists.

Choi said some of the first days of the 70-day ride were most difficult. For a rider with little experience, the mountains of West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania in the early June heat were daunting.

“Eventually, my body started getting used to the rides every day,” he said.

The team of 30 cyclists Choi rode with started riding extra miles so they could collect pictures with state signs as trophies of their triumph. 

“We’d get so excited to make it to another new location,” said Choi. 

Eleven states and seven national parks in total. 

“The best experience of my life so far,” he said. 

As for favorite locations, Choi says the vistas of the American West helped not only make the ride easier but reshaped his view of the United States. 

“Yosemite National Park was amazing,” said Choi. “Cycling through different elevations and enjoying scenery was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

Although his goal was to raise money for cancer patients, he also learned a lot of life lessons.

“Live in the moment; it’s now or never,” said Choi. 

Choi says he’d challenge himself all over again if he had the chance. 

His advice: “Ask yourself, ‘Will I regret my decision in five years?’ If you think the answer is yes, then make a different decision.”



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Siobhan Rodriguez
  • Created:11/01/2022
  • Modified By:Siobhan Rodriguez
  • Modified:11/01/2022